Jordan Grumet 0:03
The hypothesis of my book and what I've come to learn, especially from dealing with the dying is, we wait too long to think about meaning and purpose, and go for the lower hanging fruit of figuring out a finances first,
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Jamila Souffrant 0:44
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Hey, John Ayers, I'm really excited for you to be tuning into this conversation. I have a special guest back on the podcast same is Jordan Gromit, he pursued financial independence to create a life of meaning and purpose by practicing hospice medicine and hosting the award winning podcast the earn and invest podcast, his new book, taking stock, a hospice, doctor's advice on financial independence, building wealth, and living a regret free life should be out by the time you're listening to this. It's going to be available August 2. And so I'm really excited to welcome Jordan back on the podcast to talk more about his book, what he's been up to since the last time we chatted. So welcome back, Jordan,
Jordan Grumet 3:48
thank you for having me. I'm so excited to speak to the journeyers out there. Yeah,
Jamila Souffrant 3:53
well, you know, one thing I always like about you, Jordan, and then even our initial conversation, which I will link in the show notes, people can check that one out after you listen to this is that I feel like you definitely approach financial independence in a holistic way, not just from numbers. And it's because of your background and what you've seen in your years as a hospice doctor that allows you to even like have this perspective that I think is so just, it's just real, because you've like seen the other side of things like what happens at the end of our lives. So I'm really excited for us to have this conversation about why money is not the end goal or why our goals or money goals, at least are not what's really that important even though it feels like it, especially when we are first starting out or if you're just finding out about like financial independence, right? You just want to get to the goal of like this, these things, but it's deeper than that. Right?
Jordan Grumet 4:45
It definitely is. And, you know, I'm as excited as everyone else is about going into the details and talking about 401 ks and Roth IRAs and different investment strategies. But I realized when I came to this field that there were so many People who are just doing it really well, Jamila, you're one of those people, you do it incredibly well. And I just knew that that wasn't the place for me to add to the conversation. So I love those conversations too. But I do like to take a little bit more of that holistic approach. Why do we do what we do with money? And that really interests me?
Jamila Souffrant 5:20
Yeah, and that's the thing too, like I found actually, I don't know if it's because I've been now doing this for such a long time. It doesn't. It's not that long compared to probably, you know, other people's careers in this industry. But it just feels like I am at the point where I actually am not that excited to talk about like the mechanics, right? Like, what a 401 k is, and it's not that I don't like I think it's important. So I do, you know, make sure that I am introducing reintroducing, explaining these ideas, because I do think there is a point where you need to be specific, like you were talking about this idea of living the life we want reaching financial independence, and it sounds great, and it is great. But then like in a day to day, what are people doing, but it's not just about like which account you should open up and where you should invest. While those are important. There's a deeper underlying foundation we should hit for. So I want to go into that with you. Because you said something before the interview, we press record about financial independence not being the goal. Let's just dive deep in and say why that is shouldn't just be the goal.
Jordan Grumet 6:16
Well, first and foremost, it's really easy to make it the goal, right? I always talk about money goals as low hanging fruit. And the reason why is when you look at your finances, you can say I would like to be at this place. And if you study financial independence, you find a number which sounds like or feels like enough, there are all sorts of formulas, we don't have to go into them right now. So you can set that up as a goal. And then the choices become somewhat simple, not necessarily easy, but simple. I can either work more, or I can save more, or I can invest and have a higher return, maybe I can side hustle, maybe I can change jobs. This is really satisfying, because there are simple solutions to a problem, which then becomes attainable. The problem with that is money in itself doesn't really do much for us. And I think we often forget that it is a tool in order to better allocate our time, right? So time is a constant, we can't change it. We can't make more, we can't buy more time passes, no matter what we do the only thing we really have control over really, really two things. One is what activities fill that time. And then how we perceive that time, perception is a little bit more complicated. But when we're just talking about the activities we put into those time slots, we sometimes forget that the whole purpose of money is just to give us more control over what goes in those time slots. So if you set up your financial needs as your overall goal, hopefully you'll be lucky enough to get there. But then you're kind of stuck, because now you've reached what you thought was your goal. And you realize that, besides having enough money to do what you want to do, there's nothing particularly self affirming about a certain net worth number. So then you have to do the hard work of saying okay, now I have money to control what I do during my time. And the big question then becomes, well, what the heck do I want to do with my time, it was something I didn't spend enough energy thinking about so that when I got to financial independence, instead of feeling really excited, I actually was a little bit stressed and anxious. It really made me look in the mirror. And question everything that I had held up to that point because I had spent so much mental energy thinking about getting to a financial standpoint that I never question. Well, what do meaning and purpose look like in my life? What does identity mean? And so for me, it was very tied up in being a doctor, I'm a physician, my father was a physician, he died when I was seven years old, I wanted to be just like him, I got to this point where medicine wasn't making me happy anymore, and started concentrating on money. And then I got to a point where I had enough money at hand to do the hard work of saying, Okay, you can actually step away from this physician persona, which you've identified yourself for most of your life with. But then who are you? And that was really, really difficult. And strangely enough, some of those answers actually started coming from the fact that the one part of work that I still like doing, which was working with patients who are dying, or in hospice, I started looking at their experiences, what happens when someone's told you have six months or less to live. And as I was living through this with them in their families, I was starting to learn some of those secrets about meaning and purpose, and starting to try to apply them to my financial beliefs. Like I had all these interesting financial beliefs. And then I saw what was important to people who are dying and I'm like, Oh, the people are dying. Maybe they have something to really teach us younger, healthier people about what we concentrate on and specifically what role Money plays in our life because, you know, I say this over and over again. In all my time in hospice, very rarely do I get a patient who's told they're going to die. They never say I wish I worked more nights and weekends. They never say I wish I made it to that net worth of 1.5 million, but I only made it to 750,000 that that's not what's on their mind. They're much deeper worries and concerns they have about meaning and purpose and regrets about not having the courage to do those things that was were important to them. And I started thinking, why aren't we thinking about this at the beginning of our financial journey, and still waiting to the end, and I certainly, I'm guilty, I waited towards the late part of my financial journey. And in my 40s, when I was very strongly financially independent, to start asking these really important questions. And I started thinking what how powerful it would be if we could start doing this way earlier.
Jamila Souffrant 10:49
I'm on board with that. And it's one of the things I talk a lot, you know, hence journey to launch. Like, for me, it's more about what we are the life we are creating, while we're on this path. Because we've all been there where you know, we have a goal, whether it's financial, even, like financial meaning we, it's something we want to buy, and we have the thing, and we get the thing, and it's exciting at first, but then you're like, wait, something's still you still feel like something is potentially missing, without fixing whatever that internal issue was, if there's an issue, so I just feel like, you know, there is a level of security that everyone needs, right financially. So it's like, you have to meet those needs first. And like Sarah, some people who that's what they're focused on, they're focused on paying the rent, and making sure they have this much income so they can pay for like, living in this world, right? And then, but after a point, I know, I have a lot of listeners and journeyers, who they are at a space where they're comfortable enough, where there can be some more flexibility and how they're looking at their money. It's not just survival anymore. And I find that there's a lot of content that talks to like survival. But there's there's a, there's a spot where now there's potentially more money, there's more than what you're spending on expenses. And the idea now is do you invest and save and really double down on your money? Or what about the experiences and sacrificing maybe the work for more time? Knowing what you know, now, what would you have done differently on your path?
Jordan Grumet 12:15
That is a great question. Before I get to that, I want to just address one thing. You know, when you're talking about basic needs, really we're talking about Maslow's pyramid, right. So if you know Maslow's pyramid, it is a pyramid that steps up. And it starts at basic safety, security, clean air, food, living in a safe environment that's kind of at the bottom. And then as you work your way up, you work towards love and self actualization in some of those, what we call higher needs. My theory is that we actually need to flatten Maslow's pyramid a little more and actually start thinking about all of our needs simultaneously, instead of concentrating on the lower levels first. The reason why I say this is being in the hospice field, I've taken care of a lot of people in the last six months of life. And I'll give you two examples that I use in the book, I had a patient whose wife had dementia, he had to put her in nursing home he had made by bad financial decisions, he actually had to get what's called a Medicare divorce in order to pay for his wife's nursing home, although he loved her dearly. They had to get divorced, so that Medicaid would pay for her without spending down all his money he needed to live, this guy watched his wife die went home to almost poverty. And we brought him on hospice, and died alone with a very minimal of services to just enough social security to pay for his water and his heat and those kinds of things. On the other hand, this guy was surrounded by love, first of his wife, also by his family, he didn't have the basic necessities, he barely had security. And yet, he would reach the higher levels of Maslow's pyramid, what I would call self actualization on every other measure. On the other hand, you know, I've taken care of people like I had this guy, who I took care of who was a renowned businessman who owned a multibillion dollar company who had enough money to buy the hospital when he died in but was surrounded by family members who were more interested in his money than him and died a very lonely death, although he had those first levels of Maslow's pyramid completely covered. So I think sometimes, in my opinion, Maslow had a little bit wrong, even though it's very straightforward to say, look, you know, I need food, I need shelter, I need clothing. I get all that. But you also can look at some of these third world countries where people have the most minimal of those things. live in a hut with five people and still there's laughter and love and excitement, this idea that we need to wait to start thinking about those important things in life until we get our economics in hand. I think it's better to start looking at them all together, even though it's not always easy. So that's one point about just about Maslow's pyramid. Because I think it's really interesting. You asked, What would I do differently. So the hypothesis of my book, and what I've come to learn, especially from dealing with the dying is, we wait too long to think about meaning and purpose, and go for the lower hanging fruit of figuring out our finances first. So I became a doctor because it fit my sense of identity when I was a kid and bonded me to my father. But in a lot of ways, it never fit comfortably. Like, I didn't feel comfortable in medical school, I didn't have a lot of physician friends, I didn't like hanging out in the doctors lounge. And the reason why is I had built an identity, a cloak around myself on the outside, that didn't fit my insides. My insides were definitely more connected to writing and public speaking, and blogging what I consider myself now, if you ask, you know, what is your identity, I
identify as a communicator, whereas up to when I went through all this, I would have identified mainly as a doctor, if I had spent more time thinking about meaning and purpose, before I built my financial life, I probably could have done things in a different way in such that I would have never burned out of medicine. So I might not have gone into medicine, right, I could have gone into public speaking or journalism or something like that. But let's say that that wasn't my path. Let's say my path was still going into medicine. You know, at the end of my career in medicine, I found that when I subtracted all I didn't like about my job out because I had enough money, and I didn't have to worry about it. The one thing that was left was my hospice work. Strangely enough, the first thing I did when I went to medical school in my first week is I volunteered to be a hospice volunteer. So I had started my career in hospice, and then abandon it to become a general internal medicine doctor and never turned back to later in my career, if I had done more thinking about meaning and purpose, maybe I still would have become a physician. But maybe I would have really embraced that hospice work way earlier on in my career. And maybe, then I wouldn't have burned out, I might not have even reached financial independence as fast quote, unquote, financial independence, but maybe I would have been doing something I loved, that I would have done even if people weren't paying me for. So whatever money I made would have been enough to support my lifestyle, maybe would have been the slow road to financial independence, but I think I would have been living out my meaning and purpose more. So if I had been more thoughtful about meaning and purpose at the beginning of my journey, and then built my finances around that, I think I would have made better choices. Yeah. And
Jamila Souffrant 17:33
I think you know, what happens for so many people is you lose sense of what it is that you actually like? Or like, what is your meaning? Like, you have so much messaging, it's something I'm exploring, I'm in the process of writing my book now. And so a lot of it is about the journey itself, and really figuring out what it is that you want like that what society tells you, not your culture, not media, like what is it that you want? And I think for a lot of people, like you lose sight of that, like, what makes you happy? So what are some things? Would you recommend for people who are saying, well, I don't know, like, I don't actually know what my meaning is. And I think sometimes it's such a big question that some people don't want to think about the answer, because it feels so big. And they may not be ready to answer the call, you know what that is.
Jordan Grumet 18:16
So purpose and identity work is challenging, it's difficult. In the book, I actually go through an exercise called the life review. So this is something we do with hospice patients, when people find out they're dying, we, of course, we look at their symptoms, we try to make them comfortable, we make sure that they have everything set for them in their family that they get appropriate care. But another thing we do is we sit down with a patient and talk to them about their life. And this can be done by a doctor, a chaplain, a social worker, a nurse, a volunteer, basically, we ask questions like, What did you accomplish in life? What didn't you accomplish in life? What are those relationships that were important? What are your major failures? What are your major successes? What do you feel like you haven't accomplished yet? What could you accomplish over the next six months if you have the energy, this is a life review. And I think the beginning of purpose work at any age is for us to do our own little life review. And this is where dealing with the dying really has taught me about finances, picture yourself at the doctor's office, and the doctor has looked at you and although you feel fine, they've said you know what? I've looked at the numbers and unfortunately, there's nothing we can do you have six months to live. Now, obviously, this would cause a lot of stress and anxiety. But at some point, you would look at your life and say I wish I had had the strength or courage or energy to and I say dot dot dot. What comes next. If you can do that visualization exercise at a young age and start thinking about what would you regret not doing or not at least trying. If you were in your last months of life, it's a really great way to start thinking about purpose, and it doesn't come immediately. But it's a way of starting to prior red ties, what are those things that deep down inside are important to us? That we let everything else get in the way of right. I remember when I was in medical school and then started my own practice, I would sneak away at night when everyone was asleep to write blog posts about medicine. I would throw in public speaking engagements here and there, when I could get a weekend off, I had all of these passions that I was trying to put into little time slots, because somewhere in the back of my mind, I said, Well, that's not really a career, being a doctor is a job. That's what I can make money doing those other things. Those are my hobbies, right? Or those are my quote unquote, passions. It was only after I became financially independent, that I allowed myself to spend more and more time doing those things. So the question is, what would you regret if you found out you were dying today, not trying, I'm not saying succeeding, but not trying, because they're very different. And what activities are you always trying to make a little bit of time here and there to do that you never give yourself the permission to take up a bigger part of your time. And I think if you can go through those two exercises, you can start to begin to build some semblance of what feels like purpose to you. And purpose can change, it doesn't have to be the same your whole life, I very much feel that my purpose as a young person was to become a doctor. But over time, that changed, and that's okay. Purpose can be something that you do for six months or 12 months, or it can be do something you do for the rest of your life. It can be something that's incredibly important to the world. Right, you can save the whales, or you can help underserved communities, you can volunteer your time, or it can be something completely selfish. Like, it can be collecting action figures, because that's what brings you joy, etc.
None of that's important. What's important is what do you connect with? And what would you regret if in the end, you didn't have time or energy to do it. And I think once you started looking at purpose, the next step is to really look at identity because I think identity and purpose are so connected together. And an exercise I like to do with identity is to continuously ask yourself the question I am and fill in the blank. And usually when you start doing this, you'll say something like I am a doctor, I certainly that's how I would naturally answer it. Well, that's not really what I am. It's kind of what I do for a living. And then you kind of you go further I am I am a father, a son or a husband, right? You start talking about relationships. And those are important, but it's not exactly 100% What you are, you might even go further I am Plutus award winner, right? You start thinking my words, my accomplishments, again, those things are cool. But they don't necessarily say what you are deep down inside. After asking myself that question many, many times over months and really thinking about it. I came up with I am a communicator, I am a writer, a podcaster. A public speaker. That's what I want to do for the rest of my life. That's how I want to spend my time. I describe meaning and purpose. If you want to talk about what we actually do with that, I call it the climb, right? It's making progress to sow towards something that has deep meaning for us. And so for me, the climb has to deal with communicating and has to do with having great conversations. I think it's a process of figuring out purpose and identity. But there's some exercises you can do to think deeply about, about what that means to you.
Jamila Souffrant 23:31
And I also think it's important to figure out the time allotment, like you talked about, sometimes, you know, we're trying to fit our, our interests and the things that we really love into smaller time slots. And a lot of that is we feel obligated, you know, because we have to pay bills, or because we have these things we need to do that most of our work is taking up our time. And so like if you if you're listening to this, you're like, oh, yeah, there's some other things I want to do. But I don't feel like I'm in a position yet to have that take over more like that the smaller parts have become bigger just yet. I think that's okay, too. Like the awareness is key. Realistically, like, if you're not financially, at least stable, you can't just like flip things over and say, Alright, I'm only going to work one hour, and then I'll just do all the things I love, even if they don't bring in money for the majority of my day, like most people are not gonna be able to do that. So there is a transition, or at least this part where the awareness is first. And I think too, like you can slowly start to plot out or plan out how you can make that reality come true, right?
Jordan Grumet 24:29
It's a mistake to say that we shouldn't do things purely, for instance, for money. What I think the problem is, is as though we're not intentional about why we're doing it, so it is fine to say I'm going to work nine to five at this job that I find mediocre for the next five years so that I can save up this many 1000s of dollars, so that I can then back off and spend more time doing this thing that's important to me that really is connected to meaning and purpose life is trade offs. I'm not saying that we should Do the work that's necessary to make the money we need? I guess what I'm saying is that we need to start more intentionally about why we're doing it and what the trade offs are. And continuously look at, is that balance still correct as time goes on, right? So maybe now I'm doing 80% of my work during my normal work week for making money and it's mediocre. It's not great. It's not horrible, but I can manage. And then 20% is more purpose and meaning focused. But then as time goes on, and you save money, and it compounds and you're looking at your different net worth, etc, can you then start skewing in one direction or another, maybe the economy is bad, and you skew 90% work for money and 10% for more passion, or maybe the economy's good, and your net worth is starting to build, and you say, maybe now it's time to do 5050. Or maybe it's time to find a job that better aligns with my meaning and purpose. So I'm doing 100% of my time working to making a decent amount of money. But now that also fulfills that sense of passion and purpose. The point is to be intentional, not necessarily that we don't have to make sacrifices. I think we all do. Yeah,
Jamila Souffrant 26:09
yeah. And you could do like time audits, right? So like, literally, if you want it to get down to how much percentage that you're doing it, it's like, okay, you can track it. And just like we have goals, like for our money, could do the same thing with your time and energy of where you're currently putting it and where you want to be putting it.
Jordan Grumet 26:23
Yeah, and there's one other point that I think is really salient to this conversation, is, when you're making these decisions, I think you have to ask yourself a really important question. And that is, am I afraid that I'm gonna die too soon, and never enjoy my riches or wealth or whatever I've accumulated? Or am I afraid that I'm gonna really live long and run out of money? And the reason why that question is important is it's gonna change how you do to your day to day life, my father died when he was 40. And he had always thought he would die young. So he told my mother, he said, you know, we're gonna get married, but I warn you, I've always just felt I was gonna die young. My dad had passions and hobbies. He turned down very, very lucrative job for one that was less lucrative, but was more passionate about, of course, he got life insurance and made sure his family was okay. But I don't think he spent a lot of time worrying about saving for retirement, which was totally appropriate for him. On the other hand, I always figured I'd live long, so I didn't mind grinding it out for 1020 years thinking, I'll make a lot of money, I'll let it compound and then I'll have the rest of my life to enjoy myself while that money is building and growing. The reason why this question is so important is it'll really help you toggle how aggressive you are today about your finances. So I think we should all work towards financial independence. And there's some really good ways to do that. But if you think you're gonna die young, spend your money you know, YOLO it a little bit, really enjoy yourself, maybe you only save 10% or 5% instead of saving 50%. But then you're living a great life. And if you happen to die young, then you lived it up. And if you don't happen to die young, you're still building financial independence over a longer period of time, but you're really enjoying yourself. On the other hand, if you think you have all the time in the world, don't worry about loving every minute right now go out make money and get it into investments and let it compound. If you're gonna live long, heck, you know, you can do like me, which is slow down in your mid 40s. And hopefully, fingers crossed, have another 40 years to live it up.
Jamila Souffrant 28:33
Yeah, when and that's the thing I think people are just saw afraid of getting it wrong. And or they just don't know, like, I have never thought I've not sit down and thought of, you know, when I think I'm going to die, I've I've always just, you know, felt like, I just don't know. And I've always erred on the side of being more conservative. Meaning I do think that, you know, I rather not run out of money. But I've come to a point where, you know, I'm just like, I do want to like enjoy my life. At what point am I going to be like the grown Jamila. Like instead of like, you know how, like, when you get older when I get older, I'm gonna take this trip and I'm gonna have this like life. And I'm like, Okay, girl, like you're getting to the halfway mark of like, if I looked at like, I'm almost 40 it can relieve up like almost 40 For me, it feels like oh, I don't know, I made it this far. Thank God but you know, you never do know and I think that's where a lot of people get stuck because I do have some friends and family and they are not thinking about the 7080 year old like they're like I'm gonna worry about that later. I'm just trying to live today. And then they're I know a lot of people within like the space who are so aggressive with like saving and investing and like they're not enjoying well, from the outside looking in. It doesn't seem like they're enjoying their money. So I think the part is people don't know and so they just kind of like go either way sometimes.
Jordan Grumet 29:45
I think we don't understand the Shades of Grey, right. So on one side you have complete YOLO where you spend money the minute you get it to have as many awesome experiences and enjoy as much as possible. On the other hand, we have total deferred graduate gratification defer gratification where you pretty much put everything away, you don't enjoy anything, you live as frugally as possible. Life isn't like that, like, the truth of the matter is there's lots of shades of grey. And so I don't think we're ever going to get a perfect, like Bill Perkins book die with zero, you're probably not going to die with zero. Because if you do, make sure you die was zero, you may have zero too early and then have problems later on. You're not going to get exactly there, you're never going to figure out the difference between yellow and deferred gratification perfectly. The question is not to get anchored on one side of the scale. But again, to be intentional about toggling back and forth so that you enjoy today as well as the possibility of enjoying tomorrow.
Jamila Souffrant 30:43
Yeah, and I think the key here is knowing thyself, like if you know that you err to one side more than the other, like I know, of someone where it's like, they didn't have any money in their bank account. And so they couldn't do this thing. Like they were looking forward to taking the trip. And they got their tax refund. And they use that whole refund, like on the trip and they went all out. It wasn't like I'm budgeting when I'm at this restaurant, they were like, yesterday, I could not go on this trip. Today, I got all this money, and I'm going to live my life. And so that person and from my outside opinion, which I would say like they err more on the side of Listen, I don't know, the next time I'm gonna get it, I'm gonna enjoy my life today, you know, versus like, My personality is more like, Whoa, that was a close one, because I almost did not have this money. So I'm gonna like maybe spend a little bit or save half of it. And so but airing or at least knowing kind of who you are and what you tend to, like go towards and doesn't make it wrong. I would do things a little bit differently if I were her, but it's still where it's like, at least the first is awareness. And if you always find yourself in kind of like that have and have not situation, it's kind of like, okay, how can we prevent that so that you do have a little bit more next time and you're not all or nothing,
Jordan Grumet 31:53
when what I love about the awareness is if you can become aware, then you can create hacks to work around it. So for the person who spends every single penny, if they have automated savings that goes right into an investing account, and they don't even see the money, that hack can pretty much take care of it. So if they can decide beforehand what's reasonable to save, they never have to think about it again, people like you and I might be exactly the opposite, we need to have money that automatically goes into a YOLO fund that we are required to spend by the end of the year. And that hack, pretty much I know if the money that automatically goes into that account, if there's money there, I don't have to question I can spend it on whatever the heck I want, however I want. And so the idea, again, is if you can be aware of it, you can create those hacks to make sure that again, you don't fall too far on one side or the other.
Jamila Souffrant 32:47
You know, that's such a good point. So I have kind of just like a whatever fun, like, you know, a lot that we can spend, but I've always still looked at it as like almost like a sinking fund in a way. So like, we don't always spend it at the end of the month. So if I like this to say I'm putting away $20 In my spend whatever, you know, I'm category, I don't always spend that money every month. But I do like the idea of for the people who are really like you have a problem spending money even though you can, it's like you, you need to spend that money. And I don't know, like I don't want to make it where it's like you have to spend it on yourself. Because part of that could be well I'm gonna like maybe spend it on someone else or do something else when it because it doesn't have to be like this waste where, you know, we're not saying like to go out and just like spend it on something you don't care about. But I do like the idea of maybe a portion of that money. It's like you need to spend it like you need to spend it on whatever you want. Okay, it could be, but I like kind of that because sometimes people still have this, like, yellow part of their budget that they're not spending because it's still that like, well, but maybe something else is gonna come up.
Jordan Grumet 33:47
Yeah, I mean, it gets back to this whole idea of money as a goal versus a tool, we forget money as a tool. So if you don't use it, then you're not really using that tool, it's just sitting in the tool shed doing nothing. We don't want to prematurely use it when we're going to need it later. But on the other hand, we also don't want it to be hidden away until we're having a terminal illness and can't have the energy or ability to use it. And so that's, you know what it comes back to those same ideas of how to effectively use money for what it was meant to be used for.
Jamila Souffrant 34:21
Alright, let's let's talk a little bit about the parable of the three brothers and how it relates to career and financial independence.
Jordan Grumet 34:28
So the parable of the three brothers is my financial framework for the way that people reach financial independence. We often talk about financial independence as if it's this one thing. And my theory is it's many things but the easiest way is to describe what I think are the kind of three major patterns so in the book, I talk about the parable of the three brothers. The eldest brother is the one who is on this long path and they don't love the path all they can think about is what's gonna be there at the end. And so they rush all the way to the end as quick as possible exhaust themselves, but then get their way earlier than the other of the other brothers, they have all this freedom, they're a little bit burned out, they're a little bit tired, but they got there first, the middle brother feels a lot like the eldest brother, they don't particularly love their path, but they don't have the stamina. So the middle brother tries to start out like a freight train, just like the eldest brother, but gets tired and has to go take a flight of fancy out into the fields or in the woods has to take a mini vacation, something to give them a break, and then they can come back refreshed, they get to their end of their path a little bit after the eldest brother not quite as fast, maybe they have less time now to enjoy their freedom, but they're probably not as exhausted. And then last, but not least, the most peculiar of them all is the youngest brother who loves the path. So the youngest brother takes their time enjoys the sights, is in no particular rush gets to the end of the path way after either of the other brothers, and then does something that neither the other brothers can understand. The youngest brother gets to the end turns around and starts walking back the way he came from. So what does this parable mean? To me, these are the three classic views of financial independence, or at least how I define it, the eldest brother is like those early financial independence retire early practitioners, these are the people who had a high paying job, some of them tech, some of them professional didn't necessarily love their job, at some point realized that they didn't want to exist under the hegemony of employee ship, and made as much money as fast as possible, invested and got out. Right. So that's kind of one path. That's what I call front loading the sacrifice. That's certainly what I did in a lot of ways. And the good thing about that, especially if you live a nice long life is you accumulate enough money to really spend maybe the second half of your life really working on meaning and purpose. The middle brother doesn't really have the stamina to grind it out the way the eldest brother does, they get kind of exhausted, don't feel like they can do it all at once. This is really kind of that side hustle, passive income, mini retirement view. So these are people who need to find a little more meaning and purpose in their job at the moment. They don't like working for other people, they do side jobs, they find ways to own real estate and things that pay them passively. Not quite as fast, often as the elder brother, but when they can make enough money each month or passive income or side hustles, that it covers their monthly needs, they're pretty much at financial independence. And then last but not least, you have the rarest of all the youngest brothers are people who love their jobs. They're passionate about what they do. These people in my opinion, are financially independent, the moment they find a job that fulfills their sense of meaning and purpose that also pays the monthly bills, right? So you could be 22, and be an artist and love painting and get a dream job and you're pretty much financially independent, if that gives you enough to take care of you and yours. No, of course, youngest brothers do run into the fact that if they get disabled or stop loving their passion, they have to plan for those kinds of things, too. But these are kind of the three paradigms of different ways to reach financial independence. As I was saying before, I think a big mistake we make is we concentrate on which brother we want to be sometimes before we start thinking about our meaning and purpose. If we start meaning, thinking about our meaning and purpose, first, we can then intentionally decide which brother we want to be. And we may change from time to time. For instance, I would have told you when my father died that I was like the youngest brother because I was passionate about becoming a doctor. But then in the middle of my career, I became burned out and really became a lot like the eldest brother who just wanted to make a lot of money, get it invested and get out as soon as possible. So I started doing side hustles, one of my side hustles was actually consulting with a hospice company, I had never done that before. By the end of my career, I started feeling like the youngest brother, because I was passionate about hospice work and would do it even if I wasn't being paid for it. So I'm not saying you have to be one type of brother your whole life. But I do think we have to be thoughtful about how we build this financial independence structure so that it can serve us.
Jamila Souffrant 39:14
I love that parable. And yeah, it makes so much sense. Like you can start out when my back was more against the wall. When I wanted to quit my job, I was more aggressive with saving and investing. Like I was like, you know, the oldest brother like it was really important to save and invest as much as possible. Then as I actually was able to quit and do what I'm doing now. I definitely feel like I'm more like middle middle brother in a way. Like I'm still working towards the technical term of financial independence. But I think it's important that like you said, you can change like it doesn't have to be one or the other. I mean, there is a benefit in a way too. If you can upload like spend like a couple years being aggressive, to get to a stable place right to get out of the depths stage to have some stability, and to get there quickly so that way like you have more time on the back end, but you don't need to run that whole sprint for the whole marathon. Like I do think it's in Sprint's that you can do it. But I think the overall goal is like to be like, brother one, or brother, one, the youngest brother who is enjoying their career, taking things slow was like I can work forever, but has the ability to earn money, or at least do it in a way that feels so good, like brothers three, well, brother three is not necessarily like feeling good. But it sounds like brother three is like saving his savings rate is higher. The overall goal would be to do something you love, and get paid for it well enough to what's your level of being paid? Well, that you can still like live your life and save and invest for like the rainy day that you decide you want to take a break.
Jordan Grumet 40:47
Yeah, and again, I think when you put in the context, I always bring it back to time, right? That time is open, and it's set. So what activities are you going to fill that time with? Building this financial framework just is a better use of figuring out how am I going to fill that time, in an attempt to be financially stable, as well as do things I like to do. And so I think it all comes back to that is giving you multiple options of what activities to place in that time slot, making those the activities that really feel the best to you and fulfill your needs.
Jamila Souffrant 41:22
Money we know it's like, you know, you can replenish it for the most part, but like time is something you can't get back. But you know this, because you see it close. But energy is also important, because you can also, you know, the people who are retired, and I put energy in the roadmap also help, but like, even just the want to do things. And I really got this from I know Bill Perkins talks about this a lot in his book, like, you know, you can have an interest in your 20s or 30s. And then you literally like as you get older, you think you're going to plus put that off until I'm interested in doing it. And I have the time. But you don't even have the energy or want to do it. Like there are things that I wanted to do in my 20s. And I said, when I'm older I I'll do it. And I'm like, I'm not even interested anymore. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. But it just shows you that like if you're in a moment of your life where you're interested in something, you do have a passionate about something, sometimes putting it off and saying I'll do it later, like, you may not want to do it later. So you know, strike when the iron is hot, like if you can and do those things today.
Jordan Grumet 42:20
Yeah, most definitely. And I think as I've traveled this journey myself, I'm definitely way more open to experiencing today than I was at the beginning. At the beginning, I was all about budgeting and saving and having extra, every extra cent around. It's only my personal growth where I've gone back and said, Well, maybe that path to getting that net worth I wanted or calling myself financially independent, could have been put off for a little bit of time, to spend that moment doing something that I thought was important. And certainly dealing with the dying. I've seen multiple cases of people who had taken the time and spent the money, like a patient of mine who had taken a year off to climb Mount Everest in which he didn't succeed. But when he ended up dying in his mid 40s, he was so thankful that he didn't put it off and did it. So I know lots of people like that. And then I also have lots of examples of people who died in regret that they never had spent the time doing that thing that was utterly important to them. And so I think it goes both ways. But certainly as I grow myself, I start thinking more about worrying less about delaying the money piece and worrying more about living today in an appropriate way.
Jamila Souffrant 43:45
And you just said something else to like the personal development. Like once you start working on yourself more, it's the inner work that you're talking about, that I'm talking about. That like that actually, is what allows you to realize and actualize the life you want. Because without understanding who we are what makes us happy without like really expanding our mind. And you know, whatever, if you have faith, like leaning more into that, too. Like it's going to just feel like you know, it's never ending like, you know, like it can feel just like you're on like a treadmill like Groundhog Day, like every day like you know, you're just working and you're paying bills. And but there is more to life than that.
Jordan Grumet 44:24
Yeah, I definitely. And so, you know, it's funny, it's hard for me not to celebrate the eldest brother. And the reason why is 1015 years ago, I couldn't imagine living the life I'm living today in which almost all my time was spent doing things I deeply wanted to do. That doesn't mean that the path of the eldest brother is right, but certainly it served me for the time I did it.
Jamila Souffrant 44:47
Yeah. So here's the thing, right? So you're saying that you got to you're where you are now because you adopted the eldest brother's path of kind of going hard and fast for a time and now you're able to like look You're enjoying your life, now you're doing all the things you love. And now you have the money to do it, because you have front loaded it. It's like, almost dislike, it's again, the people who say, Oh, you know, not that you shouldn't worry about money, but like, you know, wealthy people, or people who already have it will say, it's not all about that, like, take your time, slow down and suck the money. But it's like, from your perspective, you can say that, and I can kind of say it in a way, I'm not as financially probably independent or secure as you are. But I also appreciate the oldest brother because I wouldn't have if I would have taken the approach of following my passion, and I did not get my full time job right out of college, that job, even though it wasn't something I love to get a lot of me to do and be where I am today. Versus like, I have some friends and people who are they fought, they're following their passion. But they're also a little bit less financially secure. They don't have as much money. And so they can't do it. Like we're not we're the same age, and they they're not able to do some of the things they want financially, because they're still kind of figuring things out. So it's almost just like, I don't think either one is wrong, right? Like, I think there's pros and cons to all three, I guess, you know, like or risk that you got to take on. But it's really just understanding that you can also change, like, if you find yourself that you're the youngest or the oldest and you're not enjoying it, you can take another approach.
Jordan Grumet 46:16
Yeah, so the counter argument is, I think in each of us, the answer will be different. But for instance, I talk in the book about Jessica Lynn, who coined the term slow fie. Right? So she's someone who's been very much about lifestyle design, and has specifically slowed her financial goals so that she could do things she wanted to do today. And it's worked out very well for her. In a lot of ways, she really fits that profile of a middle brother or Cody Berman from the fight show, he's another great, you know, did real estate and side hustles and passive income. And he's another also another great example of kind of a middle brother. And then I start thinking about some people who I know are a lot like youngest brothers, one comes to mind, just off the top of my head is someone like Scott trench, right, Scott trench who loves his job, he works at bigger pockets, probably has gotten to financial independence or very, very close to it. On the other hand, I don't know if he would stop doing what he does, because I think he has that innate drive to do it. So I think there's some of us, and I will say that kind of the OG fire movement, and when I say oh, gee, I'm really talking about the people kind of got into it in the, you know, 2008 to 2015 years, were a lot more like the eldest brothers. I think what we're seeing is the evolution is way more towards the middle and youngest brothers and a lot of ways especially the middle brother with slow phi and coast phi and barista fi and all these new terms that pretty much say, hey, we want to be financially independent. But we also
Jamila Souffrant 47:48
want to live today. Yeah, and I think because it's also more mainstream, and not that it's not mainstream. I think this concept and idea is something that we everyone wants, like not necessarily to retire early, but to have autonomy to have freedom and options. And so I just also feel like if it were to stay, and the only messaging were to be like the old old school, Mister Money, mustache, and people that I was like, starting to pay attention to when I first came into the space, like that's not appealing to the masses, like for most people, I think what's happening is there's like this middle ground, between like the fire movement, and just like regular personal finance, where like, the average person doesn't want to only maybe spend on purpose 15,000 a year, like they want to take luxury vacations or have a nice car, but also be able to quit their job if their boss annoys them, you know, or if it's a bad situation. So there's that middle ground that that's why I think this is more what more people in the space are coming up with, I think, cool concepts and names to help people feel more connected to this idea of the slower, more intentional life that you can live on your way to financial independence.
Jordan Grumet 48:55
Yeah, I definitely agree. And I think it's, in many ways, I think it's a little bit more of a mature way to look at it. And again, I'm very thankful for the path I took, but I think stress levels, anxiety levels, etc. I definitely see especially some of the young people what they're doing today and I say, Aha, they've learned kind of from what we've all gone through and taking it to that next level.
Jamila Souffrant 49:18
Yes. Okay, Jordan, please tell everyone more about your book where they can find it and where they can follow and find more about you.
Jordan Grumet 49:26
So the book is taking stock a hospice doctors advice on financial independence, building wealth and living a regret free life will be available through Ulysses press August 2, pretty much anywhere you buy books, certainly online at Amazon and Books a Million and Barnes and Nobles and target and all those places. The best way to learn about the book or what I am up to is probably to go to my branded website. That is Jordan grommet.com JLR da N Gru. Me t.com. The reason why that's the best places you can learn about all things book, as well as you can connect to them. I medical blog on my financial blog, as well as the earning invest podcast, earn invest podcast and invest.com. It's where I probably create the most content today outside of the book. Those are the easiest ways to reach me. And you can find all my socials at those places too.
Jamila Souffrant 50:15
And I will also make sure to link that in the episode's show notes. Thank you so much again, Jordan for this wonderful conversation.
Jordan Grumet 50:21
It has been a pleasure. Thank you for having me on.
Jamila Souffrant 50:23
Oh, don't forget, we are giving away a copy of this week's guest book. So if you want your chance to win, go to journey to launch.com/win for more details, and make sure you're following me at journey to launch on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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